March 18, 2023

International Authorities Issue Arrest Warrant for Vladimir Putin

1985: Capital Cities Communications Inc. acquires ABC for $3.5 billion — marking the first transfer of ownership of a TV network.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin over alleged war crimes.

The ICC’s warrant alleges that Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, another Russian official, violated the Geneva Convention by unlawfully deporting children from Ukraine to Russia.

A warrant was also issued for the arrest of Lvova-Belova, the commissioner for children’s rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation. The ICC states that the official “bears individual criminal responsibility” for the alleged crimes.

“It is forbidden by international law for occupying powers to transfer civilians from the territory they live in to other territories. Children enjoy special protection under the Geneva Convention,” ICC President Judge Piotr Hofmański said Friday in a statement.

“The ICC is doing its part of work. As a court of law, the judges issued arrest warrants that execution depends on international cooperation,” he said.

Russia rejected both the warrants and the ICC’s authority.

“Russia does not cooperate with this body, and possible ‘recipes’ for arrest coming from the International Court of Justice will be legally null and void for us,” according to a statement made in Russian on the Foreign Ministry’s Telegram channel.

According to the ICC, it has the authority to bring charges against Russian officials because Ukraine accepted its jurisdiction to investigate crimes made by the country on Ukrainian territory.

The ICC said that it publicized the arrest warrants in the hopes that it “may contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes,” as the forced deportation of children in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory is ongoing.

“This is an important moment in the process of justice before the ICC,” Hofmański said. “The judges have reviewed the information and evidence submitted by the prosecutor and determined that there are credible allegations against these persons for the alleged crimes.” 

The warrants come as Putin is set to have a high-profile meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping between March 20 and 22.

“From now on, the Russian president has the official status of a suspect in committing an international crime – illegal deportation and displacement of Ukrainian children,” Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said in a statement.

“This means that outside Russia, Putin should be arrested and brought to court. And world leaders will think three times before shaking his hand or sitting with him at the negotiating table. The world has received a signal that the Russian regime is criminal and its leadership and allies will be brought to justice.”

Source: The Hill

February 14, 2023

Embassy Urges All Americans to Leave ‘Immediately’

The U.S. has urged American citizens to leave Russia immediately or risk false arrest or harassment by Russian law enforcement agencies.

“U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately,” the U.S. embassy in Moscow warned. “Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detentions.”

“Do not travel to Russia,” the embassy added.

“Russian security services have arrested U.S. citizens on spurious charges, singled out U.S. citizens in Russia for detention and harassment, denied them fair and transparent treatment, and convicted them in secret trials or without presenting credible evidence,” the embassy said.

The embassy noted that it has a severely limited ability to help U.S. citizens in Russia due to staffing limitations, travel restrictions, and the suspension of consular services.

All Americans are urged to find a way out of the country immediately — a process that could be complicated by the fact that U.S. debit or credit cards do not work in Russia. Additionally, transferring funds electronically has been made increasingly difficult due to sanctions. 

Source: Reuters

January 15, 2023

NYT “Accidentally” Endangers Russian War Critics: Report

2001: Wikipedia, a free Wiki or content encyclopedia, is launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger.

A bombshell investigation from The New York Times last September “accidentally” exposed the phone numbers of Russian soldiers opposed to the war in Ukraine, leaving the information wide open and available for months, according to a report from Vice News.

Some of the soldiers expressed blunt criticisms of their superiors, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. The exposure leaves these individuals, and the family members they were speaking to, vulnerable to potential reprisal from their government or other third parties, Vice reported.

The revelation highlights both the risk that cell phones pose during wartime, and the security hazards posed by journalists handling leaked information, Vice reported.

The metadata of the Times investigation was scrubbed prior to publication, but some identifying information escaped the outlet’s notice, the newspaper said in a statement.

“Before publication, we worked to remove identifying information from the story. We later learned that some buried metadata was live on the site for a few hours, and took prompt steps to remove it,” a Times spokesperson told the outlet.

But Vice found more data — including “multiple” phone numbers, belonging not only to soldiers, but the relatives they were communicating with —embedded in the article’s source code, which remained live until Wednesday afternoon — several months after the investigation’s initial publication. After Vice reached out to the Times again, the code was changed to read “null.”

Earlier this month, the Times published an article about how Ukrainian artillery targets Russian soldiers based on cell phone data. “For Russian troops, cellphone use is a persistent, lethal danger,” the Times wrote.

“The use of personal cellphones has plagued both Ukraine and especially Russia throughout the war, leaving troops vulnerable to a piece of technology that, however mundane and ubiquitous in daily life, can pose an existential threat in modern war.” 

Source: Vice News

January 8, 2023

Report: Russia Shot Down a “UFO”

1835: U.S. national debt is $0 for the first — and only — time in history.

A Russian official called for calm after he said air defenses had shot down a mysterious flying object in the southern region of Rostov.

Governor Vasily Golubev, the governor of Rostov oblast, provided details about the incident in a Telegram post. He said that the air defense system found a “small-size object in the shape of a ball” that was flying “in the wind” at an altitude of approximately 8,000 feet above the village of Sultan Sala in the area’s Myasnikovsky district on Jan. 3.

The governor said “the decision was taken to liquidate it.”

“I urge everyone to remain calm,” he added. “To ensure security, all forces and means are involved. The sky is covered with anti-aircraft defenses.”

Golubev didn’t specify what the object was, but local news outlet Pivyet Rostov referred to it as “a UFO.”

Telegram channel Ostorozhna, Novosti (Caution, News) published a video showing a shining object flying and then exploding in the sky.

“Look, another one has gone,” a person is heard saying in the clip. The video was captioned, “another video of the work of Rostov regional air defenses.” A witness told the channel that “there was a very strong explosion” and “everything in the house shook. We realized that the air defenses were in operation.”

Source: Newsweek

January 6, 2023

Another Russian Tycoon Dies After Criticizing Putin

Russian sausage tycoon Pavel Antov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin, has died after reportedly falling out of a window. The oligarch is the second Putin critic to die in a similar manner.

Russian media outlet TASS reported that Antov fell from a hotel window in Rayagada, India, a few days after celebrating his 65th birthday.

According to the BBC, a Russian man traveling with Antov died of a stroke at the same hotel just two days earlier. Police said the death of the man, Vladimir Budanov, had “depressed” Antov, the outlet reported.

The BBC reported that Alexei Idamkin, the Russian consul in Kolkata, told TASS that police did not see a “criminal element in these tragic events.” 

A WhatsApp message on Antov’s account from late last June called a Russian missile attack on a residential block in Kyiv an act of “terror,” the BBC reported.

The message was deleted and Antov posted on social media that he was a Putin supporter, a “patriot” of his country, and he supported the war, according to the BBC.

Antov insisted that the WhatsApp message came from someone whose opinion he vehemently disagreed with, and it had been posted accidentally, the BBC reported.

Antov was the second known critic of Putin to die after falling from a window.

In September, Russian oil magnate Ravil Maganov, 67, died after falling from a hospital window. He died after his company, Lukoil, released a statement expressing “deepest concerns” about the war in Ukraine.

Sources: Insider | BBC

November 28, 2022

Associated Press Reporter Fired Over Bogus Story

1919: American-born Lady Nancy Astor elected as the 1st female member of the British House of Commons.

The Associated Press (AP) reporter behind the outlet’s now-retracted story about “Russian missiles” has been fired.

The article had erroneously claimed that a “senior U.S. intelligence official” said “Russian missiles crossed into NATO member Poland, killing two people.”

The outlet took the article down the following day, replacing it with an editor’s note that informed readers that “subsequent reporting showed that the missiles were Russian-made and most likely fired by Ukraine in defense against a Russian attack.” Before the retraction was issued, the bogus report was widely shared and cited by countless news outlets.

On Monday, AP fired James LaPorta, the investigative reporter responsible for the story, according to the Daily Beast.

The article, which was co-written by LaPorta and John Leicester (who still works at the AP), attributed the information to a single “senior U.S. intelligence official,” despite the outlet’s rule that it “routinely seeks and requires more than one source when sourcing is anonymous.”

The AP allows for only one exception — when “material comes from an authoritative figure who provides information so detailed that there is no question of its accuracy.” But evidently, this incident did not fit the criteria, as the outlet fully retracted the report.

“The rigorous editorial standards and practices of The Associated Press are critical to AP’s mission as an independent news organization. To ensure our reporting is accurate, fair and fact-based, we abide by and enforce these standards, including around the use of anonymous sources,” an AP spokesperson told the Daily Beast.

Source: The Daily Beast

October 30, 2022

Russia Says US, Allies Could Become Targets

A senior Russian official warned that commercial satellites belonging to the U.S. and its allies could become legitimate targets if they get involved in the war in Ukraine.

Konstantin Vorontsov, deputy director of the Russian foreign ministry’s department for non-proliferation and arms control, told the United Nations on Wednesday that the U.S. and its allies were trying to use space “to ensure their superiority and supremacy.”

Last month, Vorontsov said that Russia is concerned “about the realization of policies aimed at the placement of weapons in outer space and the use of outer space for military purposes by the group of U.N. Member-States in order to ensure their superiority and supremacy.”

Russia launched the first manmade satellite — Sputnik 1 — into space in 1957. It also sent the first man into outer space in 1961. The country’s offensive space capability is robust, on par with the U.S. and China. Last year, Moscow sent an anti-satellite missile to blow up one of its own satellites.

Vorontsov said the “provocative” use of Western satellites to assist Ukraine’s war effort was “an extremely dangerous trend.”

“Quasi-civilian infrastructure may be a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike,” Vorontsov told the U.N. First Committee.

Western commercial satellites have captured Russia’s military developments, including damage to its air bases and mass graves in Russian-occupied areas. SpaceX co-founder Elon Musk has deployed his company’s Starlink satellites above Ukraine since the early days of Russia’s invasion to help provide internet service.

Vorontsov did not mention Musk’s Starlink satellite. The SpaceX CEO said earlier this month that Starlink satellites provide a “major battlefield advantage” to Ukraine.

Source: Reuters

October 17, 2022

Kremlin Issues Grim Warning: “Catastrophic for All Mankind”

2017: Islamic State headquarters Raqqa declared under full control of US-led alliance by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Talal Sello after 4 months of fighting.

A top Russian official issued a blunt warning, saying that any further meddling in Ukraine by Western powers would ignite a third World War — one that “will be catastrophic for all mankind.”

Specifically, the Kremlin official said that if NATO were to approve Ukraine’s request to join, it “would mean a guaranteed escalation to a World War III.”

“Kyiv is well aware that such a step would mean a guaranteed escalation to a World War III,” said Alexander Venediktov, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council.

Ahead of Venediktov’s grim prediction, a senior NATO official said that if Russia were to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, it would almost certainly be met with a “physical response” from Ukraine’s allies. Similarly, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin affirmed that the U.S. was “committed to defending every inch of NATO’s territory.”

Venediktov posited that such “dangerous” comments were being made because “in the West, fewer and fewer people remember what war is.”

“For some reason, many believe that a nuclear war can be waged locally,” he said. “We must remember: A nuclear conflict will affect absolutely the whole world — and not only Russia and the collective West, but in general any country on this planet.”

He added the ominous warning: “Its consequences will be catastrophic for all mankind.”

Source: New York Post

October 11, 2022

Biden Slammed Over “Reckless” Remarks

1986: Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev open talks at a summit in Reykjavik, Iceland.

President Joe Biden is facing severe criticism for raising “the prospect of Armageddon” amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repeated threats of nuclear war.

On Thursday, Biden said Putin is “not joking” in his threats to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine.

“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Biden said.

Former President Donald Trump said the U.S. is “saying exactly the wrong thing” when we should be urging for peace negotiations between the two nations.

“We have to be very smart and very nimble. We have to know what to say, what to do. And we are saying exactly the wrong thing. We’ll end up in a World War III,” Trump said during a rally in Mesa, Arizona.

“We must demand immediate negotiation of a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine, or we will end up in World War III and there will never be a war like this,” he added. “We will never have had a war like this and that’s all because of stupid people that don’t have a clue. And it’s also because of the kind of weaponry that’s available today.”

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Biden’s warning of “Armageddon” was “reckless.”

“When you hear the president talking about ‘Armageddon’ as a random thought … at a fundraiser, that is a terrible risk for the American people,” said Pompeo, who served during the Trump administration. “He ought to be talking to us in a serious way.”

On Sunday, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Biden was “accurately reflecting the fact that the stakes are very high right now.”

Source: The Hill

September 30, 2022

Embassy Urges Americans to Leave Russia Immediately

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a security alert urging all U.S. citizens to leave Russia immediately.

“U.S. citizens should not travel to Russia and those residing or traveling in Russia should depart Russia immediately while limited commercial travel options remain,” the Embassy warned.

“On September 21, the Russian government began a mobilization of its citizens to the armed forces in support of its invasion of Ukraine,” the alert reads. “Russia may refuse to acknowledge dual nationals’ U.S. citizenship, deny their access to U.S. consular assistance, prevent their departure from Russia, and conscript dual nationals for military service.”

The U.S. Embassy urged U.S. citizens to “make independent arrangements as soon as possible,” noting that it has “severe limitations on its ability to assist U.S. citizens.”

“We remind U.S. citizens that the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are not guaranteed in Russia,” the Embassy said, telling citizens, “Avoid all political or social protests and do not photograph security personnel at these events. Russian authorities have arrested U.S. citizens who have participated in demonstrations.”

On August 15, the State Department designated Russia as a level 4 travel advisory — “Do not travel and leave immediately.”

The alert comes after Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the U.S. is close to “becoming a party to the conflict” in Ukraine.

“More and more, the American side is getting into this conflict, getting closer to becoming a party to the conflict, which is extremely dangerous,” Peskov said on Wednesday.

Sources: U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Russia | The Sun | The Daily Wire

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